Fitzgerald Hinds

National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds

The recent spike in COVID-19 cases is not a result of illegal immigration.

This according to newly appointed National Security Minister, Fitzgerald Hinds and Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh who spoke this morning at the COVID-19 news conference hosted by the Ministry of Health.

Asked whether he would be bringing something different to the table than his predecessor Minister Stuart Young, in dealing with Venezuelan immigration, Hinds said that the Government was not convinced that the current surge in cases is a result of this.

He said similar spikes are being observed in countries such as Brazil, the US and India. These countries he said, were not subject to the same Venezuelan migration patterns as Trinidad and Tobago. As such, he said, the rising numbers are not necessarily a result of illegal entry.

“We are not persuaded that the problem that you identified and we are dealing with is exclusively as a result of illegal migration into Trinidad and Tobago. The evidence in support of that there are countries like India, The United States, Brazil in particular that are severely afflicted by spikes and phenomenal figures in this regard and they don’t have the problem that we have in terms of illegal immigrants in respect of Venezuelans. I too have heard this conversation in the national community and it is largely focused on Venezuela, not too far from here. We are not altogether persuaded that is the case, you don’t have that problem in India and in Brazil and those places and therefore I don’t know if that thesis is accurate,” he said.

However, he said, Trinidad and Tobago’s laws and resources would be used to ensure the migration occurs in a controlled manner.

“So far as our borders are concerned with the resources and laws that we have to protect us in that regard will continue to come under controlled circumstances as we have established them, so that they will not pose this threat to the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.

Deyalsingh said that there was only one Venezuelan national in hospital being treated for the Covid-19 virus.

He said: “Let us be clear. The spike in cases has more to do with the behaviour of citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, We keep pushing this narrative that we ought to blame others for our behaviour, When I visit hospitals, when I get the data, it is Trinidadians and Tobagonians lying down in our beds. We have one Venezuelan in a hospital bed. I think it is really unfortunate when we try to link the spike in cases to Venezuelans when the facts and evidence simply do not lead us to that conclusion.”